Delta To Install the Cozy Suite in Coach on International Fleet

I saw a discussion about Delta installing a radically different type of seat in coach and I immediately assumed it was an April Fool’s joke. But after rooting around a bit and seeing confirmation of the news from FlightGlobal, I think it’s real.

Apparently, Delta will be installing the Cozy Suite by Thompson Solutions on its internationally-configured 767 and 777 aircraft starting in 2010. What the heck is a cozy suite? Let’s start with a couple images off the Thompson site.
08_04_02 cozysuite
Pretty different, huh? As you can see the seats are staggered so you have your own little personal space. If you want to be next to someone for a conversation, it may not be ideal, or on the off chance the flight is empty enough for you to have your own row, well you can’t stretch out, but there are plenty of benefits. First, you get your own armrests. At least, it looks like the shared armrest is long enough so that one person is up front and the other in the back. Second, the seats recline in their own space, so it won’t bother the person behind you.

Most importantly, you have a nice place to rest your body on a long flight. I have trouble sleeping on planes in general, but this will still be more comfortable as a relaxing position. It’s also rumored that the song “Hold Me Now” will be pumped repeatedly through the seats’ headrests to help passengers pass out. (Get it? Thompson Solutions . . . Thompson Twins . . . “Hold Me Now.” Ah, nevermind. You guys are lame.)

For Delta, there’s speculation that this will allow them to add more seats to the plane. Thompson says that a 767 will have 8 seats across instead of 7, and that would allow for a lot more seats onboard, but I have to assume that they’ll lose at least a couple of rows by having these staggered seats that trail backwards. So there may be a net gain, but it’s probably not as big as some may say.

I have to say, this is a fantastic move by Delta . . . if it works. An unproven seat is always a gamble, but then again so are most innovations. If they can meet all the FAA requirements with this seat, it should give them a big advantage on long international flights in coach. I haven’t been in the seat, but if it’s as comfortable as it would appear to be, I would most certainly pay a premium for it on one of those long hauls.

Whether the premium will end up justifying the expense for Delta is another question. You do, however, have to take risks if you want to be a market leader, and this is a risky but honestly pretty exciting move. Nice work, Delta. Let’s hope it works. I’m just sorry we have to wait until 2010 to see it.

17 Responses to Delta To Install the Cozy Suite in Coach on International Fleet

  1. Jason H says:

    This really makes sense with their push to upgrade their long-haul business class seats as well, which I think are slated to be done over the next couple years. I like this much better than United’s lame Premium Coach idea. This would really set Delta apart from the other carriers.

  2. sntheorist says:

    Note that these ‘cozy’ Y seats are narrower than the current Delta slim-line seats. Also, they don’t recline in the usual way. Apparently, you just get some lumbar support and the seat cushion slides forward.

    I don’t know… if you ask me, Delta’s 767s with 2-3-2 config and regular seats are just fine. I would probably prefer the present config over 2-4-2 with the Thompson seats and 30-40something additional pax to share the few restrooms in Y with…

  3. Arthur says:

    Interesting idea, but I have two concerns:

    1. If you’re not on the aisle, getting in and out looks like it will be more difficult.

    2. If the seats recline in their own space, doesn’t that mean that if you recline, you’re going to lose leg room in your own seat? Presumably reclining involves sliding forward.

  4. CF says:

    sntheorist – Yep, they are narrower, but I’m not big on stats like that when it’s a completely new seat configuration. I will play the “wait and see” card here, because I think that’s the only way to know if it’ll be good or not.

    Arthur – If getting in and out is too difficult, then we have real problems, because they’ll fail the FAA evacuation test. They say that these seats offer 5 inches more kneeroom than a seat with the same pitch today. I guess we’ll have to see how it works in practice.

    And yes, if the seat reclines in its own space, you may lose legroom.

    I’m going to have to just hope that the Delta guys thought about all this and found it to be worthwhile. Until I can sample it myself, I’ll just have to trust them. At the very least, it’s going to be a unique experience.

  5. Nick says:

    It looks like the seats use a ‘tip-up’ design, like the opposite of a movie seat, to aid getting in and out of rows. The cozy suite pics don’t show this well, but the Thompson economy images do:

    http://www.thompsonsolutions.co.uk/ts_economy.html#

    Of course, this won’t help if people are sleeping. But I would venture that on many/most carriers it’s nearly impossible to get out of a middle/window without the rest of the row standing up.

  6. From what I’ve read these don’t tend to cause a wastage of floor space as thompson recommends triangular restrooms that dovetail into the seats.

    In any case, I’ve known of these seats for a while and it makes lots of sense. Sure it is different and slightly narrower, but it makes a more efficient use of the space, giving people more actual room to maneuver in.

  7. james says:

    I would love to try out a seat recline system where it uses MY real estate, rather than eating up the space of person behind me.

    But I’ll add I’m 5’7 too. Still – that would be a completely different and interesting concept.

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  9. Akit says:

    This sounds like an interesting idea to fix-up the coach class. If you are able to make the seats in a way where you can manipulate someone’s mind to make them feel more cozy, I’d be interested, even if the seat width or knee room is just slightly smaller.

  10. Mark says:

    Did anyone look at their website? I particularly like their commentary on this page: http://www.thompsonsolutions.co.uk/ts_cozysuite_comfort.html

    “These are valuable increases given the continued growth in average passenger size (particularly US nationals) and the remaining lifespan of the current generation of aircraft.”

    Great marketing if you ask me … good enough for even fat Americans! LOL.`

  11. Mike says:

    I think we’ll see a lot more of this odd “seat stacking” in the future.

  12. QRC says:

    Cranky, have you seen CX’s new coach seats? Definitely not this radical, but similar in that they have a shell hard back and the seat slides forward to “recline,” thus the person in front of you can’t recline into you.

    Also, there was an article way back when probably 6-12 months ago in I think WSJ that talked about Lufthansa exploring the possibility for 3-stacked high narrow berths in Economy instead of chairs. Thoughts?

  13. CF says:

    QRC – I haven’t seen the seats myself, but I did write about them when they came out. Are they any good?

    I remember that Lufthansa thing as well. I’m not sure how I feel about that. You still need to be able to sit. How does that work on the westbound flight? Not good.

  14. QRC says:

    I’ve done those Y seats only once, although the new CX J class and F are really great (yet CX J you actually can’t talk to anyone, because they have massive walls between you and your neighbor…I suppose not ideal if you’re traveling with a companion, but I always appreciate it because I always just go for business. The FT CX forum was/still is full of complaints on numerous threads).

    (the bad)
    1.) As someone said above, you lose legroom. I’m 5’10″ and that’s just about at the limit I think where it starts to get annoying that you’re sliding forward as opposed to reclining.
    2.) There are large entertainment module things under the middle and window seats on the 747, they they only leave about 2 inches from the floor to them for you to try to jam your fee under.
    3.) Because the seat in front of you is a shell thing there’s no pouch, aka you can’t put your laptop, books, newspaper etc.anywhere except your lap really.

    (the good)
    1.) Nobody can recline into you
    2.) If you’re the type who feels guilty when you recline, you can do it guilt free.
    3.) It comes with the new on demand movie/game/whatever system and an incredibly high-resolution LCD screen.
    4.) Every seat has a STANDARD power outlet that is in the back of seat when you fold down the tray. It isn’t great if you want to use your laptop and not open the tray (impossible), but really a clever use of space and finally an airline figured out that no-one buys those dumb airplane-only adapters. CX just gives a standard multi-plug socket that all plus – American, European, Chinese, whatever.
    5.) All in all, I don’t envy those tall people who have to do this a long ways, but anyone maybe under 5’10″ will have a good time. It’s still just coach.

  15. Claustrophobic says:

    I’ll try anything that stops someone from reclining to within inches of my face for 9+ hours. If they don’t work – it’s back to BA premium economy.

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